canyonlands national park elopements

moab, utah

i’ve been exploring, backpacking, and climbing in canyonlands national park for over 11 years now. i guided in the park for REI, leading hiking trips to lesser known areas, teaching folks about the fragility and beauty of the desert, chatting along the trail about why we all loved this place so much.

planning a wedding in canyonlands national park can be daunting, especially if you’ve never visited the park before and you’re doing most of your research online. for starters, the park is massive. it’s split into three separate districts: the maze, the needles, and the island in the sky. so what’s the difference? scroll down for more info on permits, the different districts within the park, and advice on the best time of year to get married at canyonlands.

canyonlands national park districts

the maze

remote, elusive, wild

this district can be described in one word: remote. it’s hard to get to, hard to travel within, but the rewards are beyond great. the drive to the entrance of the maze district is 2-3 hours from moab, down roads that require a 4×4 vehicle, extra gas, and lots and lots of water.

the needles

magical, native, other worldly

this is one of my favorite areas in the moab area. the district is south of moab and takes about 1.5 hours to get to. here you’ll find wild, dr. seuss-like formations (the needles), arches, towers, and dozens of miles of trail. this would be the perfect place for an intimate backpacking elopement! permits are required for backpacking within the park, so plan ahead. you can get all the details here: canyonlands national park backcountry permits. i have spent a lot of time exploring, hiking, and backpacking through the needles, and there’s no denying the magic.

island in the sky

epic, accessible, perspective

by far the most popular district, mostly because of its proximity to moab, this section of the park offers incredible views from the top of a mesa (hence the name). most of the iconic vistas and hikes are here, the ones you’ve likely seen photos of before. there are lots of locations within the island in the sky that are perfect for engagements and small weddings. click to see some of my favorites: mesa arch at sunrise, the green river overlook, and the grand view point.

click the links below to learn more about how to responsibly & ethically enjoy the outdoors, and how to give back to the land & parks we love